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 “Achieve empowerment for women in the Philippine coffee industry” – Coffee Experts

March 12, 2021

MANILA, 12 March 2021 — Filipina coffee enthusiasts highlighted the state of the local coffee industry in the Philippines and called for increased coffee promotion and production in the 37th episode of “Stories for a Better Normal: Pandemic and Climate Pathways,” hosted by three-term Senator, now House Deputy Speaker and Antique Representative Loren Legarda.

The third part of the resilient livelihoods episode with the topic, “Kwentong Kape ng Kababaihan” featured all-Filipina guests including Pacita “Chit” Juan, co-chair of Philippine Coffee Board, Inc.; Jocelyn Mamar, a coffee farmer; and Rosario Juan, Chief Executive Officer of the Commune Café, in celebration of Women’s Month.

“Bakit kape? Ano ang koneksyon niyan sa climate change? Tatlong aspeto ang nakaaapekto sa climate change, at ang climate change ay nakaaapekto sa pang-araw-araw na buhay. Una, urban governance, kung papaano sinusunod ang ating batas. Pangalawa, ecosystems decline, ‘pag kalbo ang bundok at marumi ang lawa at ilog, papaano na tayo? At pangatlo, dito papasok ang kape – rural livelihoods – ang kabuhayan ng mga kababayan sa kanayunan, ang pinagkakakitaan ng ating micro and small enterprises. Papaano na ang coffee farmers, ano ang epekto ng pandemya at papaano tayo makatutulong dito,” said Legarda, who launched a special coffee blend made from Robusta beans, “Lola Mameng’s”, named after her maternal grandmother who planted coffee trees many years ago.

The guest coffee connoisseurs have shown and presented the long and meticulous process of coffee-making – from farming and harvesting, drying, milling – up to roasting and serving. They also discussed how the coffee farmers and businesses are coping up with the impacts of a pandemic as well as climate change.

“Noong 2002, kami ay nagconduct ng trainings around the country at meron kaming kaakibat na LGU, PGU, or organizations. Ngayon, mayroon kaming project with USAID para sa mga kababaihan sa walong bayan na pinagkukunan ng kape at ginagawaan ng programa para ma-connect ang farmers sa mga buyers. At sa tulong ng Department of Trade and Industry – Export Management Bureau, kami ay nag-present ng green beans at kung papaano ito pwedeng ibenta sa ibang lugar para makilala ang Philippine Coffee. Alam natin na maliit lang ang produksyon nito at dapat bago tayo mag-export, ipakilala natin ang sarap ng Philippine coffee.” said Chit.

“Ine-encourage talaga namin na magtanim ng kape, at ‘wag gumamit ng synthetic fertilizers. Dapat yung organic lang. Kung ano ‘yung waste natin, ibabalik natin sa farm,” said Mamar.

“It was really our vision and mission to promote Philippine coffee. Mula pagbukas namin noong 2013, ang ino-offer lang namin na kape ay ang kapeng galing sa Pilipinas. Ang sinasabi ng mga tao ay “Huh? May kape ba tayo?”, ‘yung iba naman “Huh? Masarap ba ‘yung kape natin?” ‘Yun ang naging challenge for us to really show people and let them taste good coffee from the Philippines,” said Rosario.

Legarda reiterated the need to establish an inventory of coffee farms all over the Philippines, and also called for increased appreciation and support for the women coffee makers who continuously uplift the coffee culture in the country.

“This is not the last for coffee because there’s much to learn and much to do to help our coffee farmers. Hindi po kailangan ng sampung ektarya o magmana ng maliit na lupa. Kahit sampung puno, kayang magtanim ng kape. Dapat nating maitaas ang antas ng kabuhayan ng ating mga kababaihang gumagawa ng kape,” Legarda concluded.

As an online discussion to promote health, environmental consciousness, and climate-adaptive practices, “Stories for a Better Normal” aims to change the mindset of individuals, families, and communities by demonstrating ways in which a ‘better normal’ can be realized within our communities.

This online discussion is organized in partnership between the Office of Deputy Speaker Legarda and the Climate Change Commission, with support from the Department of Education, Philippine Information Agency, Philippine Commission on Women, Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, The Climate Reality Project-Philippines and Mother Earth Foundation. ###